For centuries, the art of entertaining has been something every person needs time to master. When it comes to social gatherings, many tips, tactics, and etiquette norms have fallen out of favor since its peak in the 1950s and 1960s. From mailing invitations to dress rules to vintage dishes, here’s a look back at how hosting guests at home has changed throughout time.
1. Invitations were mailed out.
Even though telephones were widely available, it was considered impolite to offer an invitation in any way other than mailing, which also ensured that invites were issued well in advance.
2. People chose the guest list with care.
Parties were more a chance to socialize; they also served the purpose of fulfilling duties to friends and coworkers. According to The Calvert Party Encyclopedia, guest lists were painstakingly searched over to include the most intriguing visitors who would enjoy each other’s company: “… mix a group that will like each other’s company and makes for a good evening.”
3. The host welcomed the guests at the front door.
The host’s responsibility was to lead the guests through the party from beginning to end, from greeting them at the door to saying farewell.
4. Coats always go into the closet.
The host’s task was to take each guest’s coat and deposit it in a coat closet or a spare room to keep everyone’s jackets secure. No putting your coat over a chair’s arm!
5. Proper seating arrangements.
Some events were more informal, but place cards were required for formal dinner parties. It was up to the host to seat their visitors next to persons they would have something in common to chat about to throw a fantastic party.
6. Strict dress codes.
Nobody wants to be over-or under-dressed for a special occasion. Including the dress code on the invitation was pretty typical, regardless of the type of event – from informal backyard gatherings to family-friendly birthday parties.
7. Formal gatherings.
Back in the day, people dusted off their jewelry and dressed up for parties. Partygoers were dressed to the nines for everything from formal black-tie dinners to cocktail soirees.
8. People displayed their expensive china.
Again, these events weren’t only for your close friends but also for individuals you wanted to impress. When entertaining, hosts would clean their silver and bring out their beautiful china.
9. Flower arrangements is a MUST.
A flower centerpiece is a must-have for every tabletop, as any host knows. No one would entertain without a spectacular floral arrangement or a splash of greenery.
10.Hors d’oeuvres as a start.
Since the 1950s, hors d’oeuvres have been the star of any excellent party. Even if we’ve moved away from some of the popular meals of the period, appetizers like onion dip and bacon-wrapped everything are still popular today.
11. A cheese ball is needed.
From the 1950s to the late 1970s, the cheese ball was the snack to bring or serve at a party. There was no undesirable flavor combination for the dish, whether it was served salty or sweet.
12. The menus were designed and prepared ahead of time.
When throwing a party, most people would prepare the food ahead of time so that everything is ready when the visitors arrive. The hosts would be able to mingle and socialize in this manner.
13. The bar was always fully stocked.
Before throwing a party, it was courteous to make sure your liquor cabinet was up to snuff so you could make whatever drink guests desired. This was especially crucial because most people drank hard liquor before supper at the time.
14. The cocktails served were elaborate.
People drank complicated cocktails back in the day, from Tom Collins and Gimlets to Martinis and Manhattans. If you’re hosting, you’d best be prepared to cook up a storm.
15. Presentation was everything.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the appearance of the meal was almost as important as the flavor. Don’t get us started on the fruit cornucopias and seafood towers, and don’t get us started on the Jell-O.
16. Guests never helped themselves to a drink.
It would be impolite if a guest helped themselves to the bar upon arrival, as the bar was the host’s responsibility. Drinks were usually prepared in the kitchen or bar and then served to everyone.
17. But the punch bowl was fair game.
Punch bowls made things easy for the host because they allowed them to make a large batch and set cups out for visitors to assist themselves. Just be careful: the punch was usually fatal.
18. Kids did not eat with the adults.
Back in the day, children were rarely invited to dinner gatherings. Instead, their dinner would be provided before the visitors arrived, and the adults would take them to play in their rooms. They sat at the kids’ table if they were invited.
19. Kids usually make an appearance before going to bed.
Children were escorted out before bedtime to say hello to guests in a method reminiscent of The Sound of Music. If your parents kept you entertained, you might recall them doing this with you.
20. Kids had their parties.
From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, children’s parties used to be much simpler than they are now, mainly consisting of streamers, a cake, and presents.
21. Buffets were okay for more intimate gatherings.
You cannot go wrong with a buffet for smaller groups. Everything may be spread out at once around the dining room table, from the hors d’oeuvres to the dessert.
22. Potlucks had their place, too.
Around the mid-’60s, potlucks became popular, and they grew in popularity over the next decade. They relieved a lot of the stress of hosting.
23. Themed parties were also popular.
In the 1960s, as food tastes shifted toward exotic cuisine, themed parties became increasingly popular. At the time, Luaus were particularly popular.
24. People loved costumes.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, partygoers dressed up in various costumes – anything to be festive, we suppose.
25. Costume lovers
Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, partygoers wore all sorts of party wear, all things festive, they took with them.
26. The fondue nights are always successful
In the early 70s, fondue became increasingly popular here. And it’s the perfect way to gather friends together for a delicious night out.
27. Seasonal Decorations
The decorations will reflect the festive seasons of the year. A complete holiday party will feature some greenery or lights, while floral prints and pastels are the concepts for spring.
Balloons appeared firstly in the United States in 1907, and they became famous. Besides, it has excellent mid-century reviews.
29. A glass of beer
A pint of beer at a cocktail party is a pint of beer. The waiter only brings you a beer, not bottles or cans.
30. Every drink has its cup
Champagne will have champagne glasses. If you have white wine, white wine glasses go well with them. If you’re hosting the party, it’s a good idea to keep each drink served in the appropriate pitcher.
31. The right food for the ceremony is also essential.
Parties for the holidays are pretty numerous. Each dish serves particular uses, for example, soup versus a cup of chowder.
32. The indispensable outdoor events Jell-O
You can’t skip this gelatin dish at your summer BBQ party. It’s even better if you mix in fish, like in this Jell-O loaf.
At any party, cigarettes are indispensable. You will often find hosts displaying packs of cigarettes and inviting guests throughout the night.
34. The ashtray is always around
If you don’t want your house to become dirty, you should leave trays of ashtrays scattered around your home.
35. Music starts after dinner
Whether it’s a festival or a light-hearted gathering, music and dance are signs of the end.
36. The essential element on the dance floor is the twist
In 1963, some parties played out like a lively dance scene that swept dance floors across the country. Come on, bend and shout!
37. The conga line is also famous.
The conga line used to be very fashionable. It is a surefire way to heat the dance floor.
38. Party games have become popular.
From card games to charades, after-dinner lounge games are a popular pastime.
39. There are retail customers
No one wants to be too shabby at the party. People usually move out a few hours after dinner, just to be safe.
40. Guests will send a thank you letter
A few days after the event, the host always receives a thank you note from the guests, whether a formal dinner party or a casual backyard get-together.